Highlights of the central bank's history
As the U.S. Federal Reserve gears up to celebrate its centennial on Dec. 23, don't expect a wild and crazy night.
"These are the very serious, boring people you knew in college," jokes John C. Edmunds, finance professor at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. "They don't like parties, they don't like surprises, they go to bed at 9 o'clock and they only drink mineral water."
They may be boring, but the economy they deal with on a daily basis is vital to the nation. The central bank has wielded power over the financial lives of Americans for almost 100 years.
Comprised of a Board of Governors, a Federal Open Market Committee and 12 regional banks, the Fed monitors inflation and unemployment, regulates banks, and raises and lowers interest rates. And when the Fed speaks, it can affect your wallet.
To illustrate, in May, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before Congress that the Fed could soon begin tapering its bond-buying program. It quickly caused volatility in stock and bond markets and a jump in mortgage interest rates.
Here are five key moments in the Fed's history chosen by Allan H. Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon University professor and author of "A History of the Federal Reserve." Find out about the recession you've never heard of, the Fed's B.O. problem, the rise of "Darth Volcker" and more.